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Union Athletic Teams Join Fellow Students in "Day of Remembrance"

Jackson, Tenn. - 11/11/2003 - A year has passed, but the memories of last November's tornado still linger in the minds of many around Union University. On Monday, November 10, 2003, Union cancelled the majority of classes to allow faculty, staff, and students to join together in a "Day of Remembrance". This was a way for Union to repay the community of Jackson, Tennessee for their efforts in helping Union recover from one year ago when the campus suffered $2 million in tornado damages.

Six months following the tornado that struck Union's campus, more severe tornadoes hit downtown Jackson in early May of 2004. The volunteers from Union were dispersed all over the community to work on jobs left from the May 2004 tornado that destroyed much of downtown Jackson, as well as, other beautification projects around the town and on Union's campus. Overall, Union was involved in almost 50 different locations to work on community service projects.

The "Day of Remembrance' marked the anniversary of the two tornadoes that struck Jackson and Union's campus from Nov. 9-12, 2002. The day following the tornadoes, the Jackson community and Union faculty, staff, and students worked all day side by side to help clean up and rebuild the Union campus. Several students had to move from their dorm rooms due to water and roof damage. Over 500 cars suffered damage during that night. However, the Union community suffered no deaths or serious injuries. The Jackson community came to the aid of Union by provided different services to the university such as labor for clean-up, materials to provide temporary cover for the damaged areas, and hotel rooms for students with damaged dorms. Union used this anniversary of that day to help repay the city of Jackson for their efforts of a year ago.

Included in the over 800 faculty, staff, and students from Union that participated in the "Day of Remembrance" were all nine of Union's athletic teams. Players and coaches alike joined in to help with construction, painting, planting, and cleanup around the town and campus.

The men's and women's cross country teams, along with golf split up and joined different groups to spend the day working all across the Jackson area.

Men's soccer spent the day at the newly constructed United Way of West Tennessee in downtown Jackson. The old United Way building was completely destroyed during the May tornado. The soccer players and coaches spent the day caulking and painted the interior of the building. In addition to painting, the soccer team helped to move shelves and cabinets into the new building. Head coach Dr. Darin White says, "This was a great opportunity for our guys to help an organization that helped so many people when the May tornado destroyed so much of Jackson." The new United Way building is expected to open in early December. The Union soccer team has been invited to join the ribbon cutting ceremony on that day.

Women's basketball worked in downtown town Jackson at the Lincoln Courts Boys & Girls Club. The Lady Bulldogs helped with minor repairs around the building and also painted the interior. April Pearson, former Lady Bulldog and member of the 1998 NAIA National Championship Team, currently works at the Boys & Girls Club. Pearson stated, "I was so thankful that the girls chose to come and help. We used half of the girls to help paint the walls and the other half help with our 'Windows of Hope' campaign." Pearson goes on to say, "It was fun watching the players interact with the kids, but I think it was more fun for the kids laughing at the players with paint all over them." Mark Campbell, the head coach for Union, says "It was a fun day for all of us." He adds, "The girls really got into their jobs and worked hard."

The Union Volleyball and Softball teams joined other students from Union and went to Parkview Montessori School in East Jackson. During the day, they planted trees and landscaped around the building. After the jobs were done, the players and coaches got to meet the kids and then took a tour of the school. Union's coach Brian Dunn said of the days events, "I think our players really enjoyed doing the work. It was a fun day for everybody involved."

Men's Basketball started work early on Monday morning on Union's campus helping to clean-up around and repair the fence along Unions property that runs parallel to the US 45 By-pass in Jackson. The Bulldogs had to cut their workday short in order to make a seven hour bus trip to Hattiesburg, Mississippi for a game. The Bulldogs trimmed trees, moved limbs, and did some landscaping on the side.

The baseball team joined with about 50 other students in painting the outfield fence of Fesmire Field. The fence had taken some water and wind damage from the storms and was in desperate need of a new paint job. Union's head coach Andy Rushing said, "It needed to by done and done soon. It was nice that the school offered this as a project for the day, and Im thankful to all of the volunteers that helped." And it was a great undertaking. Imagine 50 people with brushes and rollers doing their best impersonations of Tom Sawyer. The entire eight foot tall fence from right field to left field was complete with two coats of paint in about four hours.

#DOGS#

(The photo below is of Alexandre Pereira of the Union soccer team. He is painting at the newly constructed United Way of Tennessee in downtown Jackson.)


Steven Aldridge
Phone: (731) 661-5027
Sports Information
Fax: (731) 661-5182

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